Thursday, February 18, 2010

February 17: Boat trip

We are still in Rothera. The weather is beautiful here, but not at Palmer Station where we are trying to fly to in order to rejoin the ship. While waiting we had the opportunity to join a boat tour of the area around Rothera with some beautiful views of icebergs and seals.

We stepped on a small island (Lagoon Island) that has a little refuge cabin. The island is densely populated with seals and skuas. Skuas are the ravens of the southern hemisphere. They are smart birds, but very ferocious. As I walked up a little outcrop, two of them took off and started dive bombing me, coming within centimeters of my head. This is quite impressive, as they are big birds (about the same size as a raven).

The whole area around Rothera is populated by seals of many kinds. We didn't see any of the Leopard Seals (also known as the wolves of the sea), but we did encounter many fur seals, some crabeaters, and elephant seals.

Fur seals are fun to watch. They behave a bit like dogs with frequent playing and fighting and barking.

The elephant seals are not very active. They are molting right now and basically just waiting for their new fur to grow. Basically they resemble giant farting and belching sausages.

Crabeaters seals.

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